About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Angel Tears

At first the assignment offended him, if he were being honest. He knew his abilities and wanted an assignment that would reflect them…maybe a missionary in an Islamic nation, a Christian in the deep Amazon, or his dream job…protecting a high profile Christian Rock star. He graduated at the top of his class; he completed his training with honors, his spiritual strength uncomparable. He was obedient, relentless, powerful. And he was assigned to guard “yummy head.”  Give me a break. 

This kid, Markie, was the most cautious kid on the planet. He was a rule follower. Sweet, kind, never taking risks. He set bugs free and wore multiple flotation devices whenever near water. Why would the top of the line angel with the best skills of a warrior be assigned to this kid? And to add insult to injury, one time the kid caught a glimpse of him and called him “Cookie." It was humiliating. This was not an assignment worthy of this mighty warrior.

Quickly, the angel learned, the Enemy was constantly prowling around Mark. Go figure. The angel learned he had to be alert. This was not the marshmallow assignment he feared it would be.  As the boy grew in wisdom and stature, it only became worse. 

His parents were praying he would be brave, a mighty warrior and they trained him in that way.  The enemy hated him.  And then the boy began to grow. Mark remained obedient to God alone, so he rejected the normal ways of the world.  He loved people, he worshipped, he spoke against injustice and he had Joy. The enemy hated Joy. He took risks…not the risks of life and limb, but real risk, spiritual risks. He loved the people no one else did, he hated human trafficking, and he fought for the unborn. The enemy hated him even more. 

The angel could never let his guard down. There were so many close calls. Near drownings his mother didn’t even see, missteps he took running Cross-country that could have broken his neck, but the angel stood guard and protected his charge. The enemy got more creative. When Mark went to Nicaragua he sent despair, homesickness and tarantulas. Mark dug into God's Word, called his parents, and loved the Pasada Boys with all his heart. Mark dug into God’s word, called his parents, loved the Pasada Boys and came home a man. The enemy raged against him.

Shortly after he left Nicaragua, gunman came into the orphanage shooting asking for the "gringos." That was a close call.  The angel no longer had time to doubt the assignment, he embraced it. He camped around Mark, always alert, never slumbering. It didn’t help that the kid had no discernment, no common sense. Only love. The angel couldn’t count on him to see danger because he was always seeing beauty.  That is what he loved about him.   

When Mark witnessed a gruesome car accident near his home he never saw the angel between him and the spinning vehicle. He saw the hurt girl and went to help her and the Angel had to stop the cars from hitting him. All the times he turned down the wrong street. All the times he jumped a fence for the perfect photograph. All the times he went to the ATM or Tinee Giant late at night The Angel stood watch and battled. He would not let Satan have his charge.  He listened to the prayers of his young man every morning and felt like he had the most honorable assignment one could ever have. 

Then came graduation week. This was a challenge, because Mark was driving a lot. He tended to have a heavy foot and liked to sing loudly. The Angel was especially vigilant the night of graduation.  So much hope for the Kingdom in one room. He knew the Enemy would be circling, plotting, gnashing teeth. But the Angel was strong, alert, well armed. Mark’s parents and so many others were praying. Officer Jones was on earthly watch holding the blue line…always a good thing. 

As Mark dropped off his buddy after graduation, The Angel readied himself for the ride home. Mark was tired and happy, thinking of the music he would work on when he got home. The Angel knew Mark might be distracted. The Angel felt danger in the night and wanted to get his charge home quickly. Mark texted his Mom he was coming home. They made their way. 

The intensity in The Realm began to pick up. The energy in the heavens shifted. Other heavenly beings began to join him, and the Angel knew a mighty battle was about to take place. Like a bad storm coming he could feel the evil in the air. He was the first one to see the car. Wildly making its way towards Mark. Come at high speed and zooming up behind Mark's car. Mark, as usual, was clueless. The Angel called upon the others to form a wall between the gunman and Mark and they stood as an impenetrable barrier. Their Angelic weapons were drawn and nothing would be able to pass. 

And then, came the command…"STAND DOWN"

At first he couldn’t believe it.  Surely he misunderstood.  Then loudly again “STAND DOWN and turn your head” The good soldier obeyed his Commander as his angel heart cried out “Why??” Then the Voice boomed “I WILL BE GLORIFIED”   

He heard the gunshots, and angel tears burned hot on his face.  Then a loud sound came down from heaven as the chariot of fire swooped blazing and beautiful through the night sky.  “May I?” The Angel asked the Sovereign One.  He carefully lifted Mark’s Spirit from his broken body and placed it in the chariot.  Immediately the Spirit broke forth in Song and the heavens began to rejoice.  One of their favorites was coming home.  The Sovereign One smiled at him and wiped the Angel tears away.  “Well done,” He said, “ You have completed your assignment.  GO NOW and WATCH what I am going to do through Mark’s family and friends. Even strangers will Glorify Me because of this boy.” 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Love to the Point of Death, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/19/2014)

Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord...
Is over the Waters...
Is Powerful...
Is full of Majesty...
Flashes forth flames of fire...
Makes the deer give birth...
Strips the forests bare...
I love your Voice.
When you speak to me clearly, either through people or creation, my heart leaps.  There's something I sometimes forget, though.  You are always being presented to me.  All Creation shouts in praise of your glory.  When it does, if I'm paying attention, I won't be able to help but to join in the song.  And I should not forget that that Beauty I love, be it in creation or a friendship or a song, is a gift and an "I love you!" from you.  I may not always be running giddy all over the place, but I want to live my life through the perspective that someone so much more powerful than I loved me to the point of death.  That's worth more than I know.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sin Sneaks Up, by Mark Rodriguez

courtesy pexels.com

(re-post from 8/18/2014)


Dear God, 

Today I heard that I must throw off any sin that hinders my walk with you.  However, I still gave in to temptations today.  I still sinned.

God, sin is a tricky thing.  It sneaks up on you, making you unsure of when to flee.  

Lord, I pray that when the very beginning of temptation enters my head, I would flee.  Give me strength to push the thought away, and if it pursues, give me the strength to flee.  When I am tempted, remind me why that sin is wrong.  Remind me why I don't want to do that sin.

Lord, I am not bound by sin.  I have been crucified with Christ; sin's chains have been cast off.  Help me, Father.  Please pull me away from returning to those chains.  

I will not, must not, put those chains back on.  Take control, Father.  Please stop the temptations that keep chasing me by screaming why they are bad.


Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm Going To Live Forever, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/12/14)


Your Love never Fails
Never Gives Up
Never Gives up on Me

And on and on and on it goes...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus.  You are limitless, boundless, endless.  You paint the skies with love day and night.  I swear I deserve none of it.  But you surround me constantly with wonder, with newness, with sights and sounds that I've never known.  Smile after smile escapes from my lips at the blessings in front of me.  And Lord, these blessings are far from temporary.  I'm going to live forever.  With you.  No person, no thing, can take that from me.  To live is Christ and to die is gain.  I have learned how to be content in any and every situation.  You are with me in all I do, I need not be afraid.  Write that on my heart Lord, let me never forget it. 


Note: The song Mark quoted at the beginning is written by Chris Quilala of Jesus Culture, I think.  The verses he references are from Philippians 1:21, and Philippians 4:11

If you would like to read Mark's journal in its entirety please visit Amazon.com and purchase
 The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of Mark Rodriguez

Friday, February 12, 2016

Don't miss the Best Part (for you to play)

by Leigh Ellen Rodriguez
“You have a great voice for the chorus,” the director of my high school musical said.  I should have taken it a compliment, I guess. But I didn’t.  To me it meant my voice wasn’t good enough to stand alone.  My voice was a filler, not unique, and certainly not lead role worthy. 

One of my best friends had the soprano voice of an angel, and the looks to go with it.  She was petite and blond with sparkling blue eyes. I felt tall and gawky with my untamable frizzy brown hair and braces. And my nondescript chorus voice. An alto voice I desperately wanted to force to be a soprano.

My adorable friend got the lead of every musical (at least that is how I remember it) while I got to be girl #2 or part of the crowd.  I remember one time I got to sing a short one line solo and the director told me to watch out because I was a little “flat.”  I remember thinking “Flat as in the note? Or flat as in my enthusiasm while performing?”  I was too embarrassed to ask so I tried to fix both. 

It is hard playing a role we don’t want, isn’t it?  Don’t we all secretly long for the life of a main character? Many of us don't really want the spotlight on us, but we desire at least a defined place in the story. We want to know that we are special, unique and have a voice worth hearing.

For years I thought that meant there was always one best role, one special position.  Yet I was destined for the small part, the supporting role on stage and often in life. 

My claim to fame...in 9th grade I played a bit part in our community theater and got beaten up by actor, Nada Despotivich, who later was in Jerry Maguire and Moonstruck

If I wasn’t The One, I was no one.  You could say I was ambitious, but it was much uglier than that. I was prideful. Somewhere along the way I had come to believe that if I wasn’t what I defined to be the best, I wasn’t as valuable.  And the scary thing is that if you aren’t careful you start applying that to other people too. And you really miss out on the experiences along the way.

A turning point for me was at a women’s conference I attended many years ago. I remember the worship leader’s voice just amazed me. I actually prayed that God would give me a voice like hers when I got to heaven.  

A few years later I was asked to sing back up for this person at a worship service. I no longer had illusions of grandeur. I knew I didn’t have near the talent she had and was thrilled to be part of the small “crowd” backing her up. My role required that I be completely tuned in to her voice, her movements and the cues she gave. I had to compliment her voice. My job was to make her sound amazing while blending with her, not competing for her role. 

I was happy to be in the background.  In fact, if I stood out, something would be terribly wrong.  For the first time I experienced how important my role of back up singer could be.  My job was to set her up, fill in the gaps and get out of the way.  And if I did that, I got to be a part of something amazingly beautiful. 

I have realized this applies to many areas of my life.  Especially when I am trying to tune in to God’s voice. What is He saying and doing all around me?  How is He moving? How can I accompany Him and not compete for the attention, glory or the control? How can I get out of the way and set the atmosphere for Him to show Himself as Beautiful? How amazing that He wants me to participate in this Story with Him!  I no longer feel like "no one" when I am not "The One."  The One, the Only One, has bestowed favor on me and you, and has asked us to join Him in the song. 

What does that look like today?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Cords of Death, by Mark Rodriguez

(re-post from 8/10/14)


I love you Lord; you heard my voice and my cry for mercy.  You turned your ear to me; I will call on you as long as I live.  When I was entangled in the cords of death, when I was overwhelmed by the anguish of the grave, You saved me.  Not because I was good enough, not because I went to church, not because I prayed before eating.  No, you rescued me because of your mercy, because of your compassion.  Because of your love that transcends all understanding.  I love you, Father.  


Friday, February 5, 2016

I don't want to and You can't make me

by Leigh Ellen Rodriguez 

courtesy of Pexels.com
“Gratitude is…” she pauses to find the right word, “a FORCE.” 

I have asked her how she handles the limbo of her serious and ongoing medical issues.  How does one do the day-to-day life when all the time in the back of their mind they are wondering if this might be their last winter?  I ask her questions like this because I want to know her and be with her in the experience as she has been with me in mine. That was several days ago but I haven't been able to get that simply sentence out of my mind.

I remember what she said this morning when I am in no mood to be grateful.  I promised myself when I began to share my experience with others that I would never fake it.  So I tell you today that I don’t feel like fighting for joy today.  

I want to be sad.  Do you have days like that? When it seems everywhere you look there is pain.  Even the overcast rainy day agrees with me.  Gloom abounds. 

If you are hoping I might have a secret way out of a dark mood, I don’t.  My usual tricks aren’t working today. I don’t feel like distracting myself, or writing a list of what I am thankful for, or helping someone else. I don’t even feel like being encouraged by my husband, in fact encouragement just makes me more grouchy. I want to watch the Gilmore Girls, and wander aimlessly around my kitchen, and be unproductive. I want to stay in my pajamas and hide from the world that seems to get more mean by the minute. Actually, I am getting more mean by the minute. 

So I start talking to God as I go through the motions. I imagine the dialogue, but is it imagining or is He speaking into my heart?

“I just can’t be thankful today,” I say.
“Okay? Aren’t I supposed to be thankful? I have all these things, and loved ones and blessings.  But I am not thankful today, and you can’t make me be.”
“OKAY,” God whispers.
“Seriously? How can you be okay with that? Aren’t I like disrespecting you? Isn’t that like throwing your gifts back in your face?” I am aware that I am provoking God, feeling a little irritable.  I think I hear him chuckle.
“Sad.” I say, and tears start to well up.
“I really tried to fight for joy today, God.  I just couldn’t get it.That’s a lie (I guess you know that already). I didn’t fight.  I didn’t even have the fight.”

Whew. What a relief.  I have learned this before.  Heck, I have taught this before.  I am reminded today that it is not my job to create the “AHA” moment.  If I fight for anything, it simply needs to be fighting the lie that I can supply what I need by myself. What a joke. 

Gratitude is a force.  And that FORCE comes from God’s Spirit in me as it stirs in my sadness.  When I stop fighting and just let the comfort of God envelope me, I find myself saying “Thank you for your presence, thank you for your comfort, thank you for your rest.” And the list begins.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”